SAM KANG LI
Jana Andolan II had already proved that change doesn't come from the barrel of the gun, but from the will of the people. Few raised objections when the Maoists declared that there were 31,000 PLA combatants?four times the number they themselves admitted to during previous talks. Even when UNMIN stated that there were only 19,000, we went along with it. When an un-disarmed political party was allowed to contest elections and won, we tolerated that too.
The country should by now have been moving towards democracy and focussing on the constitution-drafting process, but it is in crisis. The public's dissatisfaction with the government is growing. There is only one way for the peace process to succeed?the lawful demobilisation of the PLA and dissolution of cantonments. The interim constitution talks about the care, readjustment and reintegration of the combatants. There has been a lot of 'care' already, now what we need is readjustment and reintegration. For this, a special committee of the Kangres, UML, MFJ and the Maoists has already been formed.
The most important factor that needs to be taken into account while demobilising the combatants is the assurance of their future, and of employment. There has already been political agreement about this ahead of the elections, and India and other countries are aware of it.
There should now be strong steps towards demobilisation which will simplify current politics. Post-demobilisation, the Maoists, like other political parties, will have truly embraced democracy.